Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Railroad Was Not Running

I haven't posted in a while because (A) have been occupied with professional things, and a death in the extended family; and (B) have had nothing to say that had not already been more eloquently stated elsewhere, including and especially about the elections.

Though running is a regular part of my physical workout, I have not run competitively for 20+ years. Though I have run distances well in excess of 20 miles, I personally have never had any desire to run in a marathon.

Nevertheless, I am all in favor of public marathon events. They give a positive public spin to physical fitness, stimulate economic activity, keep many young people occupied and out of trouble, and push many a negative story off from the front pages of the pulp tabloids.

Today was the New York City Marathon. I did not attend, but understand that it went off quite well. The weather was certainly good for it. My congratulations go to all who participated!

The main problem with the NYC Marathon is that it ties up traffic. Specifically, the Verrazano Bridge is closed until 3 PM. One year this was problematic for us because my parents were visiting us, and they had planned to leave Sunday morning. We convinced them to stay until the next day. Such traffic perturbations are part and parcel of Marathon events, but if they only occur once or twice a year it is not such a bad thing.

This year, however, another monkey wrench was thrown into the works by the shmucks at the Long Island Railroad. The LIRR is finishing its replacement of its 90-year-old switching technology, and the train service during this weekend has been very, very limited. Per my information, travel into New York City from Long Island has been an absolute mess, and the LIRR situation exacerbated the usual problems inherent in holding the Marathon.

It would seem to me that the LIRR people should have known that this weekend was the Marathon (being that the date was known over a year ago).

The LIRR is not known for its fine management of its trains. The riders, of which I was once a regular but now am only an occasional, do not hold the railroad in high esteem, and have no reason to do so. The LIRR is notorious for communicating misinformation to the public, sometimes intentionally so. Every LIRR rider has stories about this; I shall not now get started with mine.

To plan what amounts to a major shutdown on the weekend of the NYC Marathon is emblematic of the Long Island Rail Road and its public-be-damned institutional attitude.

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